Pistons stay the course … with a new head coach

Thus far, there’s a lot this corner likes about one Michael Curry, new head coach of the Detroit Pistons.

Courtesy of True Blue Pistons, Curry gets a positive vibe from Kwame Brown

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“What I was hoping for with him and what I got is that he didn’t use anything as an excuse,” Curry said of the most significant off-season addition to the Pistons’ roster, the 6-foot-11, 270-pound veteran big man signed as a free agent. “He put it all upon himself. He didn’t use the way the coach used him or injuries or being young when he came in the league – none of that.

“He took responsibility for himself and, really, once he did that, for me it was easy. That’s one of the biggest things – to get athletes to hold themselves accountable. Whether he did that when he was 18 or 19 – I’m pretty sure I was mature at 18 or 19, but I wouldn’t have been ready to be thrown into a No. 1 pick or right into the NBA and handle that kind of responsibility. Whether he acknowledged responsibility at that time didn’t really matter to me. The fact that now he does is the only thing I want to judge him on.”

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Other Detroit Piston Information from this Off-Season

When the Raptors changed directions with their team, dating back to Feb/2006 and the hiring of Bryan Colangelo (GM), one of the options they had at the time, was to hire Michael Curry, as a young Assistant GM, to work extensively with Wayne Embry (Interim GM) for a period of time and, eventually, to assume full control of the Basketball Operations, on behalf of MLSE, for the franchise in Toronto.

Had this happened, back then, it would have been intriguing to see how the on and off-court development of the Raptors might have been effected and, possibly, be in a different position than it is today (i.e. better off or worse).

A former (and highly effective role) player in the NBA, one-time President of the NBAPA, former Vice President of Player Development for the NBDL, and former Assistant Coach for the Pistons, with a Masters Degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, Michael Curry has the type of diversified basketball background it takes to eventually become a solid head coach in the NBA (in the mold of men like Pat Riley, Phil Jackson, and Gregg Popovich).

Time will tell … if Joe Dumars (Pistons GM) has Struck ‘Gold’, once again, or if this latest coaching move is simply ‘Strike Two’.

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15 Responses to “Pistons stay the course … with a new head coach”

  1. FeetinthePaint Says:

    I really liked the Curry hire from Dumars. Dumars is being lambasted for the Kwame Brown signing but besides the Darko pick, he’s yet to make a bad move in my eyes.

    I’m also impressed by how he was able to retain Stuckey and Afflalo. How Curry works with the younger rotational players may have a direct effect on his longevity as the Pistons coach.

  2. khandor Says:

    Feet,

    I have written elsewhere about my immense respect for Joe D, both, as a former Top 50 player of All-time and as a current GM in the NBA.

    That said, I thought Flip Saunders would turn out to be a poor hire for the Pistons, coming on the heels of Larry Brown, and said so at the time.

    In my eyes, Joe swung and missed on that one.

    Hopefully, with this hire of Michael Curry, he makes solid contact and can drive one to the base of the wall in right-center, for a hard-sliding triple … i.e. the single most exciting play in that specific sport … and, the Pistons can maintain their status in the upper echelon of the NBA.

    IMO … not panicking and, instead, holding onto their key players; continuing the development of Rodney ‘The Real Deal’ Stuckey, Afflalo, Maxiell, Johnson, etc.; and, then, hiring someone like Curry to replace Flip … is THE proper way to go forward for this collection of Pistons.

    Will they be able to win the NBA championship this season?

    Not, IMO.

    What Joe D has got to do is continue to establish the BRAND of his team in the NBA marketplace, as a three-time World Championship organization that is committed to Winning and knows how to accomplish that goal.

    Whether or not the Pistons actually win the title in the next few years, in a sense, can be irrelevant to Joe D … not that it ever would be to a man like him … cause what’s far more important is that everyone involved with basketball KNOWS that the Pistons, under his direction, in fact have THAT as their primary goal.

  3. K-man Says:

    Couldn’t agree more.

    They won’t win a championship next season but it won’t matter if they continue to build on their current path as an organization with Joe D at the helm.

  4. khandor Says:

    K-man,

    Thanks for your comment, and welcome aboard!

  5. K-man Says:

    It’s Feet in the Paint, Khandor. I just changed my display name — the branding was irritating me.

  6. Dave Says:

    Joe has made plenty of mistakes – Rodney White, Nazr Mohammod are some others – what’s important about Joe is that he recovers from his mistakes and can turn some of them into quality – Darko turns into Stuckey, Nazr to cap space plus Herrmann.

    Dumars is one of the better GM’s in the league today. I’m sure he’s treated like treasured gold by Bill Davidson who himself is also an excellent owner.

    _________

    Coming back with the same core is a bad option, unfortunately it also seems to be their only option right now. There have been so few quality trade options available to them that they’re best of standing pat. In a year’s time they’re looking at good room under the cap

    Although Joe needlessly blew $4mil off that cap space on a second year with Kwame. It would have been better to pay Kwame more for only one season and keeps as much of that flexibility as possible. Yep, they now have $45mil on the books instead of $41mil which could be the difference between them having the space for max contract signing and a Corey Maggette signing … especially with Maxiell also up for an extension.

    Next season is going to exercise in futility for the Pistons. They simply don’t have the horses to win four rounds in the playoffs against high quality opposition. Strictly a regular season team at this point.

    Be interesting to see how Joe decides to rebuild this team because it does need to be blown up.

  7. Dave Says:

    I love Rodney Stuckey. He was a great pickup by Joe Dumars.

    I’d rather he was used at shooting guard more often though because while he has some combo guard skills he isn’t much of a floor general, he doesn’t direct traffic well.

    He’s also limited at the point where he’s more responsible for running the offense and other players contributions, more of a passer and set up player …. rather than having the freedom to attack off the dribble relentlessly. Similar to Wade when he’s asked to play the point in Miami, he can do a good job there but he isn’t using his best skills as often you’d like. You want that penetration, that player who’ll get in behind the opposition defense and create some havoc and leave the defense scrambling.

  8. khandor Says:

    Dave,

    When Chauncey was in Minnesota and Boston and Toronto …

    Did you have the Court Vision, then, to see him as he’s been in Detroit, as a Piston?

    I did, and told associates at the time, that the Raptors were making a HUGE mistake … not holding onto this young man as the PG of the fututre for their team.

    Did you see Chauncey, back then, as a Big, Scoring PG who needed to learn how to run a team properly, at a championship level, in the NBA?

    Or, did you see the ‘pre- Mr. Big Shot’ as a player who would be mis-cast, in that specific role, and as someone who might be a better fit either as a Combo Guard or a Smallish Scoring (no D) #2 with a mediocre team in the NBA?

    When I say Rodney Stuckey is the ‘Real Deal’ … it is as a Big, ‘seek & destroy’ PG, who opponents are deathly afraid of encountering, and who will learn how to run a team, at this level, in due time.

  9. Dave Says:

    Yes I did consider Chauncey that caliber of player before he landed in Detroit and also considered him a clear cut point guard. It was an excellent signing by Joe Dumars, which I considered the steal of the summer at the time and a move that would give Detroit one of the best backcourts in basketball while playing alongside Jerry Stackhouse. I loved the idea of physical play that both guards could provide together also.

    Rodney Stuckey is a different player, he has a different skill set. He’s more valuable using his penetration and scoring while also providing versatility as a shooting guard comfortable on the ball rather than at the point guard.

    Stuckey can play the point and he can play it at a high level but he’ll be most valuable as a two guard.

    Making him play the point guard limits how much pressure he can put on the defense with his dribble penetration. Stuckey is a thoroughbred scorer who has good overall skills, putting him a position to use those scoring skills will make him and his team more effective. Chauncey never showed the scoring ability of Stuckey who can become a 20-25ppg scorer in this league for a long time if he’s brought along properly.

  10. khandor Says:

    Dave,

    Was it a mistake for Oscar Robertson to play the PG spot in the NBA?

    I don’t think it was. 🙂

  11. Dave Says:

    Stuckey isn’t the playmaker or floor general that Oscar was. He doesn’t have that intelligence.

    I loved watching Oscar play. I don’t even need to watch the ball, just his feet and movement … watching how he moves and he works his way to his spots on the floor, same spot, quick reaction to the defense, boom, he’s got you … beautiful stuff. Didn’t matter what you did he had a counter to it.

    I believe Wade is a good comparison in terms of style of play for Stuckey. I hold the same opinion of Wade being a superior asset to his team when allowed to play the off guard instead of the point.

    I’m not saying Stuckey can’t play the point, he can, I’m saying he’d be better as a two-guard.

  12. khandor Says:

    I agree … Stuckey doesn’t have the same panache that Oscar had, especially as a Scorer in the NBA, and an overall Floor General, at the PG spot.

    Primarily, however, that’s because in the Big O … we’re talking about one of the BEST players in the History of the Game.

    Although Stuck is good … i.e. the Real Deal … not even I think he is ever going to be THAT good. 🙂

    That said … as a point of comparison, IMO, it’s a mistake to not believe that young Rodney has a similar ability to dominate an NBA game from that same vantage point, in a similar way as a big-time talent like Oscar could, in his heyday.

    Stuck is not selfish.

    Stuck can handle and pass the ball.

    Stuck can play the PG spot … especially if he has a dynamite running mate, like a Rip Hamilton type.

    Stuck can defend and rebound that spot.

    Stuck’s lack of height is not a defensive liability when he’s playing the PG-spot, like it can be sometimes, in the modern game, when he’s playing the Off Guard position (and might need to check or rebound against a 6-7 to 6-10 shooter/scorer/rebounder, like a Peja Stojakovic or Hedo Turkoglu/Rashard Lewis).

  13. Farouq Says:

    Looking into next season will the pistons win a championship?
    the pistons is a great team but have not win a championship since 04.
    i will not see the pistons as next season champions.
    Dumars promised big changes but nothing happened, so i blame him for that.
    the only change is we lost Hayes, Hunter, and Raltiff for Brown, Bynum, and Sharpe.
    The pistons does not have a good small forward.
    Prince plays great sometimes and like a rookie some other times.
    with stuckey, affalo, and bynum in the guard positions and maxille, jhonson, sharpe inthe power forward. i think dumars should trade R.wallace, T.prince, or C.Billups or a combination for a good small forward. look at the line up i have in mind
    PG– stuckey, Byunm
    SG- Hamilton, Affalo, Dixon
    SF- ——–, Harrman
    C- Brown, Dyes, samb
    PF- ——-, maxille, jhonson

    So do you guys think c.billips, t.price, and r.wallace should be traded for great players in the SF and PF positions.

  14. Dave Says:

    Hey Farouq,

    I agree, I don’t see the Pistons winning the title next season either. I see them as a regular season team at this stage. Too many flaws to overcome.

    I’m with you on Tayshaun Prince. He’s vastly overrated and he’s had several disappointing playoff series over the past few years. This is made even worse by the lack of a competent backup for him. Someone like a James Posey would have done wonders for the Pistons because they need a player capable of being a good alternative. Anyway, the Pistons should definitely trade Tayshaun, his contract has $31mil over three years … which is far too much for him. That money could be put to better use. They have cap space next summer so even trading him for an expiring contract could be a wise decision because it would make them a big player in free agency. Leaving him on their roster limits their options since he doesn’t contribute enough to the side.

    I’m also with you on the two best positions to target being small forward and power forward. Small forward because Tayshaun isn’t worth his paycheck and can be upgraded. Power forward because it’s a heck of a lot easier to find and acquire a good power forward than it is a center.

    …………………………………………

    Short term, upcoming season, it looks like the Pistons are out of options for now. The trading market has been very quiet all summer and it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to get anything done. Maybe that changes during the season and someone becomes available but all looks quiet right now.

    So trading those three for a pair of forwards looks near-impossible.

    The Pistons don’t have a whole lot to offer either with Joe keeping Stuckey off the table. They have two 30+ stars, one with an expiring contract (Sheed), and one with at least $36mil left ($50mil if team option is taken, I think that’s partially guaranteed too) on his deal (Billups). They’re too old for most young teams which limits the market place for Detroit. Then you also have Tayshaun who has a bad contract.

    Rip Hamilton is by far the best trade asset out of their veterans but he’s difficult to part with because of his value to the team.

    Stuckey is the real key here, put him on the table alongside one of those big contracts and Detroit could enter the running for an All-NBA level player in the trade market. You need talented young players to make that happen and Stuckey is the best they have. But Joe D wants to hold onto him for the future, which is fair enough, but with that decision I think Detroit removes itself from serious bidding for top tier players. There’s too many teams with better potential offers for Detroit to win out on a top tier player trade.

    They’re not great assets. They’re difficult to turn into star players. ……. and because they’re not great assets Joe D will have to couple them up to move them for top players which means he’ll have to cut apart 2/5ths or 3/5ths of the starting lineup for one player. This makes it very difficult for Detroit to get equal value because overall their team will take a hit because they’re losing too many productive and necessary players.

    Trading his way back into contention is going to be very difficult for all of those reasons.

    Pistons might be best off going through free agency. Wait a year, go through another mass of regular season wins followed by playoff disappointments and then rebuild. Move Tayshaun’s contract, let Sheed and McDyess expire and leave, and then retool around your excellent backcourt. Maybe turn Billups into an expiring or a second tier frontcourt player and bring young Stuckey into the starting lineup.

    Seriously, I said it before in these comments, that second year on Kwame’s contract is an irritation and it’s going to limit their flexibility. That cap space is quite possibly the biggest key to Detroit staying at the top of the East and avoiding a thorough rebuilding stage. Joe shouldn’t have risked that for Kwame. Hopefully he can work around it.

  15. khandor Says:

    I disagree.

    The one big change Joe D. had to make this off-season he has already made … i.e. replacing Flip Saunders with Michael Curry.

    It would be a major error on Joe’s part if he dealt any of the Pistons’ key players, at this point in time.

    If the Pistons had a better head coach and Chauncey Billups hadn’t gotten injured vs Orlando … the Celtics might not be the reigning NBA champions, as we speak.

    Will the Pistons win the NBA title this season?

    I think not … because the LA Lakers are probably going to win 70+ games during the regular season and then capture the 2008-2009 NBA championship.

    What Joe D. has done this off-season … by changing his head coach and holding onto Billups, Hamilton, Wallace, McDyess, Prince, Stuckey, Maxiell, Johnson & Afflalo … is ensure that his team doesn’t slip backwards in an improving Eastern Conference and will once again have a legit chance to win its way into the NBA Finals.

    ===============================

    For those who do not value what Tay Prince brings to the table every night for this team of Pistons … I suggest you simply ask yourself what the reasons were for his selection to the Gold Medal-winning ‘Redeem Team’, and re-evaluate what it is you think you know already about creating and minimizing mis-match advantages in the NBA.

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